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ABCs of Mulgrew vs. Retirees’ health care

October 31, 2022 pm31 4:32 pm
Mulgrew wants to move retirees onto Medicare Advantage. Our retirees now, most of them, are on regular Medicare. The fight has gotten angry, confusing. Let’s go back to the ABCs. A. Is Medicare Advantage (MAP) really worse than Real Medicare, which is what our retirees currently have? Yes. Real Medicare is better. Medicare Advantage is worse.
  • Forced by Mulgrew (and the Municipal Labor Committee, and Mayor Adams) to choose MAP (for free) or Real Medicare (for $191/month, or roughly $2300/year) – thousands of our retirees chose to pay extra to stay off Medicare Advantage. Smart.
  • Preauthorizations are the Achilles Heel of insurance plans. Real Medicare hardly has any. Medicare Advantage has LOTS OF PREAUTHORIZATIONS.
  • Medicare Advantage plans engage in systematic fraud. This New York Times Medicare Advantage / Fraud article is tough on them. And if they rob big organizations they work with, what do you think they do the little guy?
B. Shouldn’t we just give Mulgrew and the MLC the benefit of the doubt? No. Three years ago I would would have understood if you were giving him a chance, even though I was unlikely to. But, whoa – forget what they say, watch what they do.
  • Sneaking around. The whole Medicare vs Medicare Advantage thing – it blew up in April of 2021. Why? Because we found out about it. The Professional Staff Congress (CUNY professors union) told its members. You know who didn’t tell us about it? Mulgrew, who was negotiating it. The MLC, which was in on it.
  • Who cares what you think? That’s easy. Not Mulgrew. Mulgrew doesn’t care what you think. See how in contract negotiations they do surveys? For mayoral endorsements they do focus groups? Even for selection DRs they create panels? Now, a lot of this “asking for input” is kind of bull – but they do ask. For the switch from Real Medicare to Medicare Advantage? Mulgrew, MLC, the City, no one asked any of us.
  • Shifting stories. Mulgrew blamed the City, the “poor roll out,” misinformed retirees, misguided retirees. At his first retiree call (May 4, 2021) he yelled at and spoke down at retirees (the audio was posted, and then removed). He said not to opt out, and then not to opt out yet, and then that there was no need to opt out.
C. So Mulgrew is fighting against retirees’ health care. Who is fighting to protect it? And what have they done?
  • Retirees. There is a coalition of retirees from many municipal unions. There is our own Retiree Advocate within the United Federation of Teachers.
  • Retirees have been telling the truth to other retirees about what’s going on.
  • Retirees went to court and blocked the City, the MLC, and Mulgrew from forcing retirees out of Real Medicare and into Medicare Advantage. The judge’s decision rested on something called “12-126” which protects our health care.

D. Mulgrew/MLC/City are getting desperate. They may have more at stake than they are letting on.

  • Mulgrew trying to sneak this past us
  • Mulgrew yelling at retirees.

But now they seem even more desperate

  • Mulgrew and the MLC were campaigning to change “12-126” so they would have an easier time getting retirees off of Real Medicare and bringing in Medicare Advantage. But the deeper that campaign went, the clearer it was that City Council members were listening more to their retirees than to Mulgrew and the MLC
  • Running a full hour “infomercial” at the last UFT Delegate Assembly
  • Banning questions at the UFT Executive Board (more precisely, limiting questions to 15 minutes, which they intend to eat up with long answers, an effective ban. They were getting testy about the pointed questions about Real Medicare vs Medicare Advantage)

E. And that letter, and email

  • Look, I will write more about the letter from Office of Labor Relations (OLR), and Mulgrew’s response. But from here, it looks like the OLR says “change the law, or else we will hurt retirees’s health care! Or hurt in-service members’ health care!” And Mulgrew answers “Let’s change the law, blah blah blah”
  • But we know that the OLR and Mulgrew agree about changing the law. Because that’s how they intend to force retirees out of Real Medicare and into Medicare Advantage.
  • And retirees don’t want to change the law, because changing 12-126 will screw with their health care. And in-service members should not want to change 12-126, which protects our health care.
  • By the way, DC37’s Nespoli wrote pretty much the same letter to his members.
  • So this OLR letter combined with the Mulgrew and Nespoli response, it looks like a three-way bum’s rush on retirees and in-service members, trying to get us to give in on 12-126.
So what do we do? Write to your city council member. Tell them to protect 12-126, and to protect our retirees (for now) and our in-service members (in the long run).






3 Comments leave one →
  1. tremblychap permalink
    October 31, 2022 pm31 11:37 pm 11:37 pm

    Well put. Thank you for the clarity.

  2. John fager permalink
    November 1, 2022 pm30 6:15 pm 6:15 pm

    ONLY names

  3. John fager permalink
    November 1, 2022 pm30 6:29 pm 6:29 pm

    Mulgrew shall only be known:
    “MULGREW Healthcare “SCAB”

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